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'Pathaan' marks the return of the King (Khan) who’s here to reign over our hearts, again

Four years since his last film, the Badshah of Bollywood gives fans a comeback to remember. And there’s more to come in 2023.

I’d be honest with you guys, I was as nervous and worried as I was excited to see Pathaan today. I had my reasons for it. Here was my favourite actor who was back on the big screen after four long years. Plus, he was doing an all-out action film, a genre he’d hardly ventured into. Why wasn’t he doing what he was best at? I asked myself, many times. And if one has to take into account the timing, Bollywood has never needed a masala potboiler, one that captivates the audience’s attention right from the word go, than now. Would Pathaan, one of the most-anticipated movies of the year, be that film? Would Shah Rukh Khan, prove to his critics (hard to believe, but they do exist), that he was, is, and will always be the undisputed king? I got my answers as I stepped out of the theatre today—a resounding YES. 

The resurgence of SRK 

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From not playing the lead in a single film in four years to giving fans a triple treat in 2023 (Jawan and Dunki to follow), could this be SRK’s year? If Pathaan was a teaser for the main course that’s in store, boy were we served a tasty treat that was full of masala, spice, and a very hot lead actor who only seems to age like fine wine. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and while the past four years have been spent watching SRK movies time and again, today felt different because we saw him in a new avatar. And not once did he look out of place. We loved the long hair, rugged look, washboard abs, and the sheer conviction and confidence of a superstar, who many thought was down and out. SRK has ensured that if you come for the king, you better not miss. 

How a planned break can help you

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Sometimes it’s important to take two steps back so that you can take a giant leap forward. Cinema has shown each one of us that no actor has had a 100 per cent track record. Even King Khan has had his fair share of movies that have failed to set the box office on fire or give critics some food for thought. Raees, Jab Harry Met Sejal, and Zero were his last three films—a trio that left most fans, me included, disappointed. We were sad because the bar, when it comes to SRK, has always been high. We knew he was much better than this. Just like his iconic dialogue in Om Shanti Om, SRK in his trademark style, has told the entire world ‘picture abhi baaki hai mere dost’ (it's not the end yet), with a performance to remember in Pathaan. If this is what he was saving himself for, guess taking a well-thought-of break is something we all need to do.  

All the things he did to prepare for Pathaan

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We did it back when he danced to the tunes of Dard-e-Disco in 2007, and are doing the same thing 16 years later—staring at SRK’s abs. Guilty as charged. And how can one not? The man is 57 and looks in the best of shape (quite literally), even better with that rugged look and long hair (please don’t cut it). While we’ve enjoyed the end product, let’s not forget the strict diet (calorie intake was increased with more emphasis on protein including egg whites and lentils) and fitness regime (worked out of his home, Mannat) that he stuck to in order to get this chiselled look. With King Khan jumping off buildings and an aeroplane, and driving a bike on an icy river, there’s absolutely no prizes for guessing that he’s pushed his body to breaking point, a limit he’s never gone to before. By maintaining not just physical strength, but also mental in tough times like the pandemic, King Khan is certainly no less than a fitness icon for everyone. Those eight-pack abs look bigger and better for a reason.  

His performance in Pathaan and how it helped him ace another genre like never before

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It won’t be the first film that SRK carries on his shoulders (they, too look fantastic BTW), and it won’t be the last. He’s played a villain, a king, a scientist, a drunk, and now a secret agent, the latest addition to the list. Safe to say, he’s kicked ass in it. You may have slight problems with the plot and its pace, but take nothing away from the fact that Shah Rukh Khan looks tailor-made for the action genre. He can jump, he can fly, ride a bike, pack a punch, everything that you’d expect the lead hero of an action film to do. And before we forget, he’s got the same quirky wit (classic SRK) and dance moves to make you cheer from your seat like you always did.  

What’s next for King Khan? 

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SRK and action films aren’t going anywhere as King Khan will be back beating the enemy to pulp in Jawan. Releasing this June, the film, will see him play not one but two roles—father and son alongside the likes of South Indian stars Vijay Sethupathi, Nayanthara, and Priyamani. Along with making a cameo appearance in Tiger 3 (part of the YRF spy universe), he will be seen bringing a smile to our faces in Rajkumar Hirani’s Dunki that’s slated for a December release.

Just like we said earlier, picture abhi baaki hai mere dost!